Browse Month: August 2012

Monday Musings 27/08/12

Our competence comes from God…

The term “man of God”, (used predominantly in Africa) is one of great respect but carries with it an incredible responsibility.  This endearing term has the potential to lead the minister of the gospel into the pressure cooker of performance.  The man of God, in the pursuit of the miraculous, can be pressured to fabricate the counterfeit if the genuine presence of God does not show up in a Sunday gathering.

Following RTC’s seminar “Another Gospel”, shared at the PAOGZ (Zambia) General Conference last week, the chief bishop responded with a challenge regarding the genuine vs. the counterfeit.  Upon returning to my accommodation, I began to ponder on those two terms.  Here is what came to my mind:  counterfeit is a shortcut – genuine is a process.  The one who produces counterfeit currency does so in an effort to shortcut the process of making money honestly through education and hard work.  The same holds true in the spiritual realm.  Most of us want to experience the miraculous power of God without going through the process of time spent in the Word of God and prayer.

When we settle for the counterfeit, we are doing what Paul suggested to the church in Corinth, “acting like mere men” (1 Corinthians 3:3).  There is a constant tension between Divine power and human performance.  In John 10, the Jews were trying to stone Jesus.  They were questioning his authority as the Son of God, to the point that they accused Him of being demon possessed and raving mad.  Jesus said to them:  “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father.  For which of these do you stone me?”   The Jews responded:  “We are not stoning you for any of these, but for the blasphemy, because you a mere man claim to be God.”  Ironic isn’t it, in Jesus day, the Jews turned “the Son of God” into a mere man, today, in the church; we tend to turn mere men into “the man of God”.

The apostle Paul sets the record straight and provides the answer to this tension between Divine power and human performance.  He says in 2 Corinthians 3:4 – 5 “Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God.  Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.”

In 2 Peter 1:3, Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ says:  “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 

Pictured in my blog today is the men and women of God at the PAOGZ General Conference who came to the altar in response to this word.  I challenged them, as I do you today, to put God back on center stage in our lives.

Don’t settle for the counterfeit, when you can have the real deal!!!

Until next Monday…

Don

Taking risks for Kingdom impact!

www.reinventingthechurch.com

Monday Musings 20/08/12

Who is equal to such a task… (Part one)

 What a privilege was mine last week to share the Word at the Pentecostal Assemblies of God Zambia (PAOGZ) General Conference.

My thoughts were taken from the Apostle Paul’s challenge to the church in Corinth.  Last week, they were directed to four hundred ministers.  Today’s blog is directed to the whole church.

Paul reminds us that God has entrusted an incredible task to those of us who are a part of the Church of Jesus Christ.  Like Paul, we are called to be servants of Christ, by the will of God – Paul was an apostle, but he was a servant first!!!!  Servanthood comes before title or position.

 2 Corinthians 2, suggests that “we are to God the aroma of Christ”.  Think of this with me.  God uses us to spread everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

To one, we are the smell of death, to the other the fragrance of life.  There is an incredible contrast in these two statements.  The aroma that we release to others, has a lot to do with the motive & attitude  of the servant.

“Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit.(2:17)

Christ is not a type of produce that we take to the local market to sell for personal profit.  Jesus Christ is the living Son of God who made Himself nothing, taking on the very nature of a servant, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2)

One of the great motive and attitude checks of the heart has to deal with how we view others.  When you look at a successful business man in your community, do you see the opportunity for personal gain, or do you see a man/woman in need of the saving power of Jesus Christ?

When you see a desperately impoverished outcast in your community, do you see your self as too important to get your hands dirty?

I will never forget going to the Montreal General Hospital with my visitation pastor to visit a young woman named London, who, on occasion, would visit our church.  London prostituted her body to buy drugs and ended up on her death-bed, dying of Aids.

When it was time to pray, I am ashamed to admit that I was unwilling to reach out my hand to touch her.  I had seen her life on the streets, and based on that lifestyle, found it hard to reach out and touch her.

Graciously but firmly, my visitation pastor reminded me of the power of a touch and encouraged me to reach out and touch London’s hand as we prayed.  I am so glad that I listened to him in the hospital that day, as we had the privilege of leading her to Jesus on her death-bed.

Personal gain or preference will lead to the smell of death.  Putting others needs first will lead to the fragrance of Christ.

God, strip us of pride & politics, arrogance & agenda  and replace it with humility.  Remove the smell of death and replace it with the fragrance of Christ’s life.  Empty us of personal gain and help us to take on the very nature of a servant.

“Who is equal to such a task?”

Until next Monday (for part two)…

Don

Taking risks for Kingdom impact!

www.reinventingthechurch.com

Monday Musings 13/08/12

A church within a church…a plan within a plan

Yesterday, I had the privilege of speaking in Hope Pentecostal Church in the Kamatipa village.  Kamatipa means “mud”, and derives its name from the inundation of mud that comes during the rainy season.

As I pulled up to the church, I was intrigued by how they are expanding their building around the present structure.  Hopefully the picture does justice.  If you look closely, you can see the existing structure through the window of the new building project.

Kamatipa is a very poor village, filled with witchcraft and alcohol.  And yet, at least half of the congregation consists of children and youth.  As I spoke, my heart was so burdened for the youth of that congregation.  I kept challenging them on how they can make a difference if they would determine to put Jesus first in their lives.  Pray for Hope Church in Kamatipa.  Their goal is to have a roof on the new facility before the rainy season comes.  If that dream becomes a reality, they will be able to tear down their existing structure and worship in their expanded facility.

On another note, it never ceases to amaze me how God orchestrates our lives.  He is the Master Maestro, and we are His instruments.  When we trust God and follow His leadership, all things work together for our good.  Proverbs says:  “Many are the plans of a man’s heart, but it is God’s purpose that prevails”.

This week, I was scheduled to fly to Uganda.  Because of a recent outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in that country, the team I was travelling with felt it best to postpone the trip. The postponement opened the door for me to attend the Pentecostal Assemblies of God Zambia (PAOGZ) General Council.  They have now asked that I share the Word at the two morning devotionals and two night general sessions.  As a dear global co-worker wrote to me in an email: “Wow…omit Uganda…attend General Conference…this is God’s hand for sure!”

Never underestimate the leadership and direction of God, the “Master Maestro”.  When you place your life in His hand, as His instrument, He will direct every movement of your life and bring together all the pieces to produce an incredible sounding symphony!!!

Until next Monday…

Don

Taking risks for Kingdom impact!

www.reinventingthechurch.com

 

Monday Musings 06/08/12

The art of Olympic channel surfing…

MJ and I are fortunate to get good Olympic coverage, here, in Zambia.  Since our arrival last Thursday, we have been able to watch the London 2012 Olympics, even following some of our Canadian athletes.  Go Team Canada go!

I have discovered that there is a real art to Olympic channel surfing.  Last night for instance, I had to go back and forth between watching our Canadian Olympic divers at the pool and the 100 meter heats at the track.  The timing had to be just right between Emilie Heymans, Jennifer Able and Usain Bolt.  With the exception of one dive, MJ and I got to see it all, including the fastest man on earth break an Olympic record.  By the way, the picture taken from our television, though blurry, is proof that I saw that historic 100 meter race.

Following multiple events is not an easy task, and can be tiring, but once you get into a rhythm, it really works J.  Perhaps it should be an Olympic sport!  It would be as interesting as watching a speed walking marathon! JJ.  Okay, I know some of you are thinking that I need to get a life here in Kitwe!

Speaking of the Olympics, MJ and I have a schedule of Olympic proportions in Africa over the next two months.  I thought I would use this blog to share our events with you.  We would appreciate your prayers as you think of us.  Perhaps you would be willing to pass this schedule on to your prayer partners as well.  By the way, my trip to Uganda has been postponed because of the outbreak of a deadly virus called Ebola.  Please pray for Uganda and our workers there.  So here we go.

August

5                            House of Prayer (Ndola, Zambia)

12                          Hope Pentecostal Church (Kitwe, Zambia)

14 – 17                  PAOGZ General Conference (Kabwe, Zambia)

15 – 26                     Trip to Uganda (postponed)

30 – Sept 1              RTC seminar in Livingstone, Zambia (with Bill Pipke)

September

2                              Speaking in local churches in Livingstone

4                              RTC Conference in Kasama, Zambia (Bill Pipke)

8                              RTC Pastor/Board seminar in Kitwe, Zambia (Bill Pipke)

11 – 17                    TTC Intensive – Current Trends In World Pentecost (Bill Pipke)

16                            Eastlea Assembly of God Church (Mufulira, Zambia)

19 – 25                     Trip to Malawi

30                            Return to Canada (full ministry schedule for the Fall)

Thanks for your ongoing support!

Until next Monday…

Don

Taking risks for Kingdom impact!


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